We asked Facebook followers; ‘ Share one easy tip to learn masonic ritual ‘
This MEME was shared to Facebook recently and I have included some of the replies below.
But first, I wanted to share with you my tip, how I learn ritual fast.
I normally start with a clean sheet of A4 ( Letter USA ), folded in half so I have four sides of A5.
Then I draw five or six vertical lines equally spaced across each side of the A5 page
So each line is about 1” ( 25mm ) apart
Lets take the Working Tools as a simple example:
‘I now present to your notice the Working Tools of an EAF.’
I now write down the first letter of each word in the column, in a rhythm of three. I capitalise the important words and substitute numbers when possible.
(I would use dots or dashes for the words not to be written)
So it would look like this:
I read from the book each little section and following it from the paper, so very soon I can read just from the paper.
I repeat reading from the paper a few times until I can recite the passage from memory. I try to visualise the paper in my mind.
I learn more short sections and recite (in my mind), then repeat by reciting all the sections learned so far.
When I take the dog for a walk in the mornings, I will go through the whole ceremony, and as no one is around, I speak the words aloud.
It helps me if I hear the words as I speak them. If I get stuck for a word, I refer back to the sheet of paper (Baxster, our dog has being installed in the Chair many times!!)
Also, I try to plan it so that I can do my part of the whole ceremony about 2 – 3 weeks before the meeting.
Tips from others
Harvey Lapp: Memorize one sentence (or one or two words) at a time, in order. Repeat the lines from the beginning, entirely from memory every time you are alone. Occasionally read your ritual code and compare it to what you have memorized.
Adam Robery: Reading out loud helps me greatly
Tony Morgan: Pay attention during your degree.
Jim Murphy: Personally I like to learn in front of a full sized mirror.
Bill Caren: Learn the ritual backwards. Therefore you learn the last paragraph first. You learn it first, say it the most. Therefore, when in the Lodge, your ritual gets better, the longer it is.
W. Pat Comer: Read it aloud to your self for 2 weeks before you start
Daniel Joseph Kaelin: After memorizing text I negate the inner voice by turning on the TV to interfere with my recall. Like a quarterback practicing for a game in a noisy stadium.
Daniel Crossley: Once you’ve learned it, try to recite it to yourself while you type it out on your computer in private in Word. They always say you really remember something when write it out. Obviously don’t save it and delete straight away.
Lins O’Riley: Practice and learning sentence by sentence. Plus have an understanding of what you’re reading so it makes a greater impact when reciting (and you can throw in a few of your own words when stuck).
Darrian Tefft: I recommend learning the meaning of it at the same time it helps solidify it in your mind.
Steven Wilson: Say it aloud and learn it with as much time before the degree as possible. You’ll find yourself running through it in your head numerous times before the degree and that goes a long way to not only improve recollection under the gun but also to identify which parts are weaker than others.
Kristian Hoffmann: Repetition is the cousin to success.
Brian Meredith: Practice daily if only for a short time, and practice out loud as often as possible.
Dan Nourse: Memorize one paragraph at a time. Start by memorizing one sentence.
Harry Workman: Remember the particular degree and the night you received it, basically a roadmap of the evening . At least for the three main. Memorizations. Helped me a lot .
Shawn Garrison: Been doing this for 14 years….I struggle with memorizing anything my whole life. Opening and closing I still struggle and degree work (😫) but I have also learned not to fret….where one weakness lies other strengths shine. I have other qualities for masonry then perfect or even good degree work.
James Thayer: I learn faster when my cell phone is off. My cell phone isn’t off very often.
James Thayer: If it’s not in code then code it. You can quickly learn to read the code because you do remember what it is, you just need a few letters of each word to prompt you. Write out your code. Learn to read your code. Delete every other word in the code and read that. Delete half of that and learn to read it. Keep cutting your code until you have a symbol for each paragraph. Then you just have to structure it in mind.
James Thayer: Don’t discount the power of a positive attitude. If you believe you can you probably will. Look at all the brothers that came before you. They could and none of them are any better than you can be. You have everything they did and if you don’t they will give it to you.
Pat Cholka: Practice. You need to find the method that works for you. But practice every day…several times a day.
Pat Cholka: Oh. And it’s not easy…no one said it would be easy. But it’s worth it!
Tim Bonney: If you have the space in a room, set up a few chairs and a table in the setup of your lodge. Walk through the ritual as you are learning it.
Chaz Walker: What you can record or write down: record yourself saying it and play it back to yourself, saying it with yourself. Also reach out to brothers and ask who is willing to practice with you. I know for me personally if any brother would call me and ask to practice I would love that and wished it happened more often.
Jozef Horopapera: A big mirror.
Steve Jersey: Paragraphs…. 1 of them at a time!!
AJ RM: Think of 3s.
Geoffrey Toulmin: Read ‘The Art of Memory’ recently released to find out how the ancients did it.
AJ RM: Memorize it no prompts unless you are 100 years old and memory isn’t as good as used to be follow and understand the ritual in YOUR DAILY LIFE and PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH.
George Butler: Learning ritual is like sawing a log. By doing a little each day the job is soon done. The most important thing is to remember to pick up the saw!!!
Reece Valentine: Agree with walk and talk. If you deliver ritual standing learn it standing.
Kenny Jack: Will, determination & focus carries you a long way.
Michael Daburn: Walk and talk!
Michael Sadler: ‘The Five Minute Ritualist’.
Greg Jett: Find the rhythm.
Ritual in Mind:
A Memory System for
Learning Masonic Ritual Tools
This title offers a visual memory system for learning Masonic ritual. It is intended to nurture younger Masonic brethren in learning Masonic ritual.
As a head teacher and past university lecturer, the author has applied his research into memory retention to learning Masonic ritual.
Ritual in Mind is a short booklet that explores the theory behind visual memory retention techniques and applies this to the working tools of the first three degrees in the Craft to enable brethren to become confident ritualists.
Learning Masonic ritual can be a daunting prospect. Ritual in Mind explores a visual memory technique that will improve the ability to learn and recite Masonic ritual.
In addition, Ritual in Mind could become an essential text for supporting the mentoring process for Provincial mentoring scheme.
Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges:
Esoteric Secrets of the Art of Memory
In Antiquity, the art of memory was a mnemonic device that allowed an orator, such as Cicero, to recall all the points he wished to make by associating each of them with an image or architectural element in the site he was speaking.
When this art was rediscovered in the Renaissance, hermetic thinkers like Giordano Bruno reworked it into a method that allowed them to acquire knowledge with the creation of “memory palaces.”
The elements of these memory palaces were not intended to trigger the memory but would actually transform into talismanic objects with knowledge entirely new to the seeker.
In this book, Charles B. Jameux shows that this hermetic reworking of the classical art of memory was no mystery to operative Masons, who grafted it onto their own rituals, catalyzing the transformation of operative Masonry into speculative Masonry.
He shows how the hieroglyphic writing used during the Renaissance in the art of memory provided the groundwork for one of the most esoteric elements of masonic practice: the grasp of the realm of image by the letter, where symbols were “buried” within words.
Using archival evidence from 17th-century Scotland and earlier, combined with the research of modern scholars such as Frances Yates and David Stevenson, Jameux argues that the creation of speculative Freemasonry can be traced back 100 years earlier than conventional history records–to 1637, when the first recorded use of the Mason’s Word appeared and with it, the first known appearance of the symbolic Temple of Solomon.
He follows Giordano Bruno’s visit to the British Isles in the late 16th century and the subsequent activities of the men he met there, showing that Masonic symbolism owes much of its current form to early memory palaces, which represented the Masonic lodge and temple in their fully imaginary states.
Revealing the pivotal role of the memory palace and hermetic traditions in early Masonic symbolism, Jameux sheds new light on the Masonic questions asked of each initiate and the spiritual importance of the Temple of Jerusalem to Freemasonry.
Solomon’s Memory Palace:
A Freemason’s Guide to the
Ancient Art of Memoria Verborum
“Test every fellow of the craft and every apprentice on the art of memory and science thereof.” The Second William Schaw Statutes (1599)
Freemasons have unique memorization needs. Long passages must be remembered verbatim, yet there are strict restrictions on writing, recording, or even speaking certain esoteric portions outside of the lodge, making unsuitable many of the memorization techniques used by the general public. Fortunately, the craft is not without its working tools.
Solomon’s Memory Palace provides step-by-step instructions on how to construct the rare memoria verborum memory palace and discusses the curious ties between the art of memory and Speculative Freemasonry.